If you’re a gardener, you’ll always grow more than you can eat. Here are seven delicious ways to use up a surplus.
7 ways to use up the summer fruit surplus
Mini strawberry cheesecakes
MAKES: 12 TIME: 5 hours-overnight (includes chilling time) For this recipe you need 12 x 10cm springform tins and 12 x rose-shaped silicone cupcake moulds.
Base 2 cups biscuit crumbs (plain, malt,
or digestive biscuits) ½ cup butter, melted Filling 250g cream cheese ¾ cup sugar 2-3 tbsp lemon juice ⅔ cup milk 2½ cups cold cream 2 tbsp gelatine ⅓ cup hot water 1 cup puréed strawberries, or other berries red food colouring, optional strawberry jam
To make the base Mix together the biscuit crumbs and melted butter. Tip into greased mini springform tins and press down firmly. Chill in fridge. To make the filling Mix the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and milk together to form a cream-like consistency. Set aside. Whip the cream in a chilled metal bowl until it forms soft, smooth peaks that flop over (it should not be thick and grainy, or runny). Set aside. Mix the gelatine and hot water together to a smooth consistency. Fold into the cream (not the cream cheese) mixture. Then add the cream cheese mixture, puréed strawberries and a couple of drops of red food colouring if desired. Pour filling into rose-shaped silicone cupcake moulds. Place moulds in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. When frozen, the filling can be removed from the moulds much more cleanly; if only refrigerated, the filling will stick to the sides and the rose shape will be destroyed. An hour or so before serving, spread homemade strawberry jam onto the bases. Remove from the springform tins and place each on a serving dish. Carefully remove the cheesecake filling from the moulds and place onto each base. Allow to thaw before serving.
Chocolate cherry tarts with walnut pastry
MAKES: 10 READY IN: 90 minutes These delicious tarts are the perfect festive treat. You will need 10 x 8cm tart tins.
Pastry 1½ cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup walnuts 1 tbsp granulated sugar 90g unsalted butter, chilled and diced 1 egg yolk 2 tbsp iced water Filling ¾ cup cream 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped 3 tbsp cherry liqueur fresh cherries, or berries of your
To make the pastry Place flour, walnuts, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Whiz until walnuts are finely chopped. Add diced butter and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and water and mix until a dough forms. Remove dough from processor, roll into a ball and flatten slightly. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll pastry out to a thickness of 3mm. Cut into circles and line tartlet tins. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Cover each tartlet with baking paper, fill with baking beans, and blind bake for 8 minutes. Remove paper and beans and bake until golden. Cool on wire racks. To make the filling Heat cream, but don’t let it bubble. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Leave to stand 2 minutes while chocolate melts, then mix until smooth. Mix in liqueur. Spoon chocolate mixture into pastry cups and place in fridge to set. Serve with cherries or berries.
Preserving your summer treasures is a great way to use and distribute your harvest. Dehydrated fruit and early-season jams can be stored or given as gifts.
Blackberry crumble slice SERVES: 6 people TIME: 90 minutes
If you don’t have blackberries, you can use any berry that’s in season.
2 cups plain flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp ground cinnamon pinch ground or freshly grated nutmeg ½ cup caster sugar pinch salt 175g unsalted chilled butter, cubed 1 egg zest of 1 lemon 4 tsp cornflour ⅓ cup caster sugar, extra 400g blackberries juice of 1 lemon 1 cup desiccated coconut icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 27.5cm x 18cm (11 x 7 inch) slice tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Place flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, caster sugar and salt in food processor and process for just a few seconds (enough to combine). Add butter, egg, and lemon zest, and process for 20 seconds – the mixture should resemble breadcrumbs. Divide the mixture in half and press one half into the base of the slice tin using your fingers. Mix the cornflour and extra caster sugar, then add the blackberries and lemon juice – gently mix so the berries stay whole. Spread the berry mixture over the base. Mix the coconut into the remaining dough mix, then sprinkle on top of the berries. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden. Dust with icing sugar when cold.
Chocolate strawberry brandy balls TIME: 20 minutes INGREDIENTS
200g dark chocolate 25g butter, melted 1 egg yolk 2 tbsp brandy 1 cup icing sugar, sifted dehydrated strawberries, crumbled
Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and add melted butter, egg yolk and brandy. Mix until combined, then add icing sugar. Mix to a soft, smooth consistency. Roll into balls, then roll the balls in the crumbled, dehydrated strawberry. Keep in fridge until serving.
Dehydrating is a great way to use up excess fruit. Make sure your fruit is in perfect condition to begin with. Pliable fruit is great for snacks and added to cereal; crisp fruit is delicious crumbled and sprinkled over desserts or used as a coating for brandy balls (see above).
HULL the berries and cut into quarters, ensuring the pieces are a uniform size. You can slice your berries if you prefer, but slices need to be of even thickness. PLACE on dehydrator racks, or on baking paper-lined trays. CHOOSE the dehydrator setting for fruit (about 55°C) or a low setting in your oven and dehydrate for 8-10 hours for slightly pliable fruit, or 10-14 hours for crisp fruit.
THE drying time will depend on the size of your strawberries. To test the fruit has dried to the consistency you like, you need to cool them first. Leave to cool for 20-30 minutes and test. If not quite dry, continue to dehydrate, then re-test.
Plum brownies SERVES: 6 TIME: 3 hours INGREDIENTS
Base 120g butter 185g dark chocolate, chopped 1 cup caster sugar 2 tbsp brandy 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted ½ cup chopped walnuts Plum purée 8-10 large, dark-skinned, fresh plums 3 tbsp sugar Filling 2 eggs (size 6) 1 cup sugar 3 tbsp lime juice ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted ¼ tsp salt 2 cups plum purée
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm x 20cm square cake pan, line the base and sides with baking paper and grease the paper. To make the base, melt butter and chocolate in large bowl on medium heat in the microwave. Stir in sugar and brandy, then eggs, flour and walnuts. Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until just cooked. Remove from oven and let cool. To make the plum purée, remove stones, chop roughly, leaving the skins on, and place in a saucepan with sugar. Cook on low heat until sugar has dissolved, and plums become mushy (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour plums into food processor and purée. Set aside. Make the filling. In a large bowl, add eggs and sugar and beat lightly until mixed. Add lime juice and mix with wooden spoon. Add sifted flour and salt and mix. Fold in 2 cups of plum purée with a spatula, half a cup at a time. Pour filling on top of base and bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
Strawberry and champagne jam MAKES: 4 x 250ml jars (approximately) TIME: 2½ – 3 hours
This is a perfect gift, homegrown strawberry jam with a slosh of bubbles.
1kg strawberries 850g jam setting sugar 100ml lemon juice 400ml Champagne knob of butter
Wash and hull strawberries, then place in a large non-reactive saucepan. Crush fruit with a potato masher. Add jam setting sugar, lemon juice and Champagne. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, place a saucer in the freezer. After a couple of hours, warm the fruit mixture over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add a knob of butter, then turn up the heat. Boil hard for 4 minutes. Remove pot from the heat to test for setting point. Pull the saucer from the freezer and drop a small teaspoon of jam onto it. Leave it to cool for a minute, then run a finger through it. If it wrinkles at the edges and stays in two separate sections, it is ready. If not, return to the boil for 2 minutes, then re-test. When ready, skim any scum from the surface, then cool for 10-15 minutes. Stir, then pour into sterilised jars.
The time to dry your strawberries will depend on their size
Homegrown with a slosh of bubbles
Jane Wrigglesworth is a gardening writer, blogger, and publisher of the digital magazine, Sweet Living. www.sweetlivingmagazine.co.nz www.flamingpetal.co.nz